11 Off-Page SEO Rules to Outperform Your Competitors

These are things that will affect your search engine rankings from outside of your web page. These are very important for growing the overall popularity of your site and make it easier for you to rank well for your chosen keyword phrases.

keywords

Create excellent content because it affects the following:

1. How much your content is shared on social media…this provides important clues to search engines about the quality of your content.

2. How long a search engine user stays on your site. If searches on a search engine and finds your site, but clicks back right away, it will tell the search engine that you may not be very relevant for that phrase.

3. How often your content is linked to. If you have good stuff, people will link to it…but beware, search engines can detect quality links, so old self-linking practices are dead.

4. Make sure you have a social media presence and you readily encourage your visitors to share your content on social media. It’s important that you’re being seen all over the web, if you want Google to give you favour.

Ways to ensure you’ve got quality engaging content that attracts users and search engines:

5. Each page should be on one unique topic.

6. Your navigation is clear and all your content is easily found by humans and search engines.

7. Use attention-getting headlines to grab your visitors’ attention and so they know they’re in the right place.

8. Make your content easy to read by using short sentences and paragraphs. Keep your words simple.

9. Break up your copy with subheads and bullet points, so viewers can scan it easily…instead of having them click away.

10. Use images to draw the eye in and tell a story with your content. Humans are visual creatures and photos and other images can help retain their attention.

11. Don’t forget to connect with other website owners in your niche. Friends tend to share the content of others, so this is just a win-win for all of you.

Generate Qualified Leads From Your Website

What would you do if you had a sales rep that month after month took a salary from your company yet week after week after week… they did not generate one single sale?  What if this had been going on for years?  What if not only were they not generating any sales, they were not even generating any leads?  What would you do?

Of course you would fire them!  Without a doubt!

The primary purpose of a sales rep is to generate sales and at the very least to generate some leads!

Yet every month, we pay hosting fees, website maintenance fees, software fees, and much more, to maintain a website whose sole job is to generate sales… yet we do nothing when the website fails to perform.

Is it time to fire your website?  When was the last time your website generated a sale?  A lead?get-more-leads

Sales is all about numbers.  If we know that our closing rate or conversion rate is 5% then we can know that we need a specific number of leads to generate a target revenue.

For example, if you have a product that sells for $100 and you want to generate a monthly revenue of $10,000 then you know that you need to sell 100 units to achieve your revenue goal.  If you know that you can close 5% of the leads, then you know that you will need 2000 qualified leads to be able to close 100 new customers.  This math helps you to determine where you need to focus your efforts to reach your target sales goals.

If you know you need a minimum of 2000 qualified leads per month and your website is only generating 100, that that is the first place to focus your efforts.

So how can you improve your website to capture more leads?

When I work with my coaching clients, one of the first things we do in our coaching calls is to take a look at the website and do a series of 5 minute checks on the basics.  Here are some of the questions I usually ask:

 

Site Review

  1. Is the site visually pleasing?
  2. Is there a clear call to action?
  3. Is there a web form to capture email addresses?
  4. Are there credibility symbols above the fold?
  5. Are there testimonials?
  6. Does the site guide the user to the next step?
  7. Can you easily answer this question: What action do you want them to take?
  8. Does the site allow people to self select different areas of the site based on different market segments?
  9. Is the site converting visitors to leads and leads to sales? Is the conversion rate at least 5%?
  10. If I send more traffic to this page will I get more sales?

Review Character Shows Assess Reviewing Evaluate And Reviews

SEO Site Review

If your site passes the initial Site Review, the next step is to review your site for search engine optimization factors. If you want your site to rank high in the search engines, you will need to have an SEO friendly site.

  1. Does the site have good SEO friendly title tags?
  2. Does the site have well written description tags? (Benefits plus call to action)
  3. Is the url structure of the site static and seo friendly?
  4. Are all pages on the site easy to find and easy to navigate to?
  5. Is there a blog?
  6. Is it linked to Google+?
  7. Are there social media share buttons on the site and the blog?
  8. Is there duplicate content on the site? (Copyscape)
  9. Has the site been penalized for bad links? (Google Analytics / Penguin Analysis)
  10. Is the site using keywords correctly through the site?shutterstock_77500738

 

Blogging Review

The next step is to review your blog!  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. When was the last time the blog was updated?
  2. Are the blog posts written for the readers or are they articles posing as blog posts.
  3. Are people commenting on the blog posts.
  4. Is the blog the central hub for all content creation?
  5. Are there share buttons on each blog post?
  6. Is the time on site greater than 2 minutes?
  7. Is the bounce rate lower than 55%?
  8. Is the click through rate to other pages at least 2?
  9. Has the site been verified in Google+?blog

 

Social Media Review

Social Media is an integral part of an online marketing strategy.  To be able to promote the blog posts that are being written, you must establish an online presence with social media.  In the past, you could get top ranking in the search engines with just “link building”.  This is no longer the case.  Here are some questions to ask yourself about your social media presence:

  1. Does you have a Facebook Fan page, Twitter page, Google+ Page, and LinkedIn Page for their company?
  2. Are your social media accounts well designed with graphics?
  3. When was the last time you updated each of your social media accounts?
  4. What is your Klout score or Kred score?
  5. Are you engaging your market online or are you just talking to them?social media 3

 

Local SEO Review

Do you have a brick and mortar business? Do you have a physical location customers can make purchases at?

  1. Are you on Google Local?
  2. Are you on Yelp?
  3. Do you have a Google Map on your website Contact Us page?
  4. Are you optimizing for Google Local terms? (Geo-modified keywords)
  5. Do you have a system for getting reviews?
  6. Are your public citations SEO optimized and optimized for conversion?brickandmortarbrickandmortarbrickandmortar

 

We have actually created a guide called the 7 Step Gap Guide where not only do I map out the above questions, but also explain how you can work with my company, Start Ranking Now, Inc. to close the gaps!

Subscribe to our Newsletter and Download the 7 Step Gap Guide Now!

 

 

Is Your Website Ready to Sell?

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In the online world, it all starts with your website. You will need a professional looking website that displays your skills and creates trust within your target market so that people will want to buy from you. That starts with the copy on your website, the look of your logo, and the copy in your tagline. Take the work here regarding your website seriously. If you don’t project a professional image people will be unlikely to hire you.

How your website looks will depend on what services you’re offering. If you offer Graphic Design services your website should reflect awesome graphic design and show a portfolio of work that you’ve done. This will give your clients a good idea of what your style is. If you provide copywriting services, the copy on your website should be above average and demonstrate what you can do. Showing some before and after rewrites would be a great idea too.

 

A few tips that will help you create a great website:

 

A Great Layout

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Your website should have a pleasing layout. Try not to be old fashioned with the way your website is laid out. Gone are the days with the top banner, two side bars, and middle content but try to avoid flash and strange entry pages.

There are fabulous layouts to chose from that look beautiful and allow the content to be presented in its best light. The best system to use is WordPress.org, there are a variety of free and premium templates and themes that you can use that will offer perfect layouts to choose from.

 

Informative Content

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Still the lifeblood of your website, your content should be informative, interactive, instructional and inspire your reader to act. When writing content for your website never forget to have a purpose for the content, and a call to action for your readers.

 

User Friendly Navigation

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When a potential client clicks through to your website if they cannot figure out how to get around your site they will leave. You have mere seconds to impress them, so don’t make it confusing. Have navigation above the “fold” as well as at the bottom of very page.

 

A Telling Domain Name

Site Review

Try not to choose hyphenated domain names, and also choose domain names that are full of keywords. It will make it easier for your potential clients to find you if your domain name has keywords in it.

 

Revealing About Page

About Nicole

People like to buy from those they know, like and trust, and your about page is the place to encourage these feelings. Be honest, be clear, include a nice picture of yourself, and be professional.

 

Contact Information Clear

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Nothing is worse than going to a website and never being able to figure out how to contact the owner. Ensure that not only do you have a contact page, but you have links to the contact page on every page in the bottom navigation.

 

Newsletter Sign Up

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One of your best marketing efforts can happen via your newsletter. Offer a free give away such as a report, or a checklist in exchange for collecting email addresses. You can send out newsletters as well as new product announcements.

 

Sitemap

If Your Website Was a Piano…

A site map isn’t only for the computer bots to spider your site, it’s also for the human. If you create an excellent sitemap some people will click on “sitemap” to find everything they need. But, it’s also for general indexing for search engines.

 

Search Engine Optimized

SEO

You want organic traffic to your site, so use the tools you have such as all of the above, “on page SEO” and include some off page SEO by guest blogging, article marketing, and creating social media accounts.

 

Mobile Friendly

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Today, you never know where someone is looking at your website from. We are a mobile society and it’s rather easy today, especially with WordPress to build a mobile friendly site.

 

Analytics

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This is for you, but install analytics on your site so that you can see what pages and what content are working best to keep readers reading, and to attract organic search engine traffic.

Connect Your Google Profile and Business Website

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Using Google + to maximize your brand can be a successful endeavor if you keep looking for new ways to use Google+. Linking your Google + profile to your website is very useful because your fans and customers can connect with you. The whole name of the game in business is having more targeted connections and then keeping in touch with those connections in the best ways possible.

If Google has this information about you it will be used to add relevancy to your name and business when people search for your keywords and keyword phrases. Once you’ve connected your profile with your website your site then can have a Google+ Direct Connect. It’s one of the fastest ways to maximize your brand with Google +.

It’s Good SEO

Search engine optimization is something you hear about a lot because it’s very important to helping people find you and your business. By adding your business website to your Google + Profile you’re giving people yet another way to find you.

You’ll be More Relevant

Once Google verifies you and your business site, and people search for you, they will place more relevancy on Google + verified businesses than on those who are not. Because most traffic still comes from Google, it makes sense to do it simply based on getting higher in search results.

Earn a Google+ Direct Connection

This is still in the testing phase but what it does is give people the ability upon searching for your company to put a + in front of their searches so they will automatically find your Google + Page and in some cases automatically ad you to their circles. Not all websites will get the connection right away, but it’s worth it to try.

Earn More Trust

Due to the fact that Google + verifies businesses and website ownership, you’ll be more trusted by having this connection established. People like to buy from those that they know, like and trust. Earning more trust will definitely maximize your business’s brand faster than not doing it.

Don’t forget to connect your business website to your Google + Profile for even more bang for your buck. Adding widgets and badges so that people who visit your website can easily see and visit your Google + Business Page will encourage more people to follow you. By getting more people to follow you and link to your Google + profile you’ll increase your ranking exponentially. So, if your business has more than one blog or webpage, put your badges and +1 buttons on every single one.

As you learn more about Google + for Business you’ll learn that the more you use it, the more you share, the more you interconnect everything to Google + the more people who will find you and the more chance you have to maximize your brand. You can’t do it all at once, so do one thing at a time, and do each thing thoroughly and you will see results that go beyond what you might have thought possible with social media like Google +.

If you’d like to know more about Google+, then don’t miss our free Webinar on November 7th, “How To Maximize Your Business Brand On Google+”.

How to Maximize Your Business Brand on Google+

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The Evolution of Affiliate Marketing

1-evolution

Affiliate marketing is still a viable business model with low start up costs and the potential for high return. But, affiliate marketers have had to change their tactics as the competition has increased. In light of the regulations by the FTC, has this industry changed for the better?

What is Affiliate Marketing?

In the simplest terms, affiliate marketing is advertising done by others to promote a company’s products. It’s ingenious really. Amazon was one of the first to institute this model. Instead of a company spending big bucks to advertise their products, they allow 2-what-is-itothers to help out with it for a share of the profits.

The advantages include:

  • Wider circle of influence owing to the number of affiliates
  • Lower advertising costs
  • Several people focusing on advertising instead of one
  • Opens the market to a larger and more diverse audience
  • Increased sales

Affiliate marketing is a partnership that pays off for everyone involved.

Affiliate Marketing in the Past

Affiliate marketing has always been about promoting a product or service but the methods have changed over the years. For one, there are fewer banner ads. Remember when they were all the rage? The flashy ads scrolling across the top of the webpage caught a reader’s eye. They clicked to see what all the hype was about. Banner ads were all about getting the click for higher affiliate payouts.

Unfortunately, that led to a lot of gratuitous advertising on the part of marketers. The sale was the main drive and it resulted in concentration on enticing people to click instead of focusing on the product itself. Reviews were clearly aimed at showing the product in the best light possible even if there were negative issues. When given freebies, review writers felt compelled to shy away from detracting statements about the product.

As a result, people felt “had” with these biased reviews and advertisements. They bought the products but didn’t get what they were promised in the way of a great product or at least the product that was advertised. Not all affiliates have operated like that. Many have seen the wisdom of adding value to their affiliate marketing methods to:

  • Build their brand
  • Build their reputation
  • Gain a faithful following
  • Build their list

 

Competition has raised the Standard

3-competitionFor “black hat marketers” this means that tactics used to beat the system and make a quick sale are no longer making the profits they once were. Changes to Google search engine algorithms have weeded out those who provide lackluster content or recycled content on their affiliate sites. Keyword stuffing is a definite no-no as well as using PLR content “as is” to populate your sites.

To compete on search engine pages and not get dinged by the likes of Google, affiliate marketers are providing SEO rich content that informs instead of “sells” a product to their readers. Making money is still important (it is a business after all), but marketers are exchanging their products for value. Engaging the reader reaches them on a different level. When a person can emotionally identify with a product, you are more likely to make a sale.

 

Tools in the affiliate’s arsenal now look like:

  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Social media interaction and social bookmarking
  • Webinars
  • Personal recommendations for products

Websites are user-friendly and contain a host of information and ways for the affiliate to interact with their audience instead of just telling them what to buy.

The FTC and the Future of Affiliate Marketing

Many affiliates are talking about the guidelines set down by the FTC. It is not as gloomy a forecast for the affiliate marketing industry as many are leading you to believe. These guidelines are there to provide internet users with what you would want for yourself – honesty and truth in advertising.

 4-ftc

Learn more here: http://business.ftc.gov/

The guidelines advocate disclosure. We’ve seen how people react to public figures and non-discloser of their links with certain companies and products. Many television commercials with spokespersons also include a disclaimer at the bottom letting you know that they are paid for their services. If that makes a difference to you, then it will also make a difference to your website visitors and your promotion of affiliate products.

Compliance is not a hardship if you are already adding value to your affiliate marketing methods. According to the guidelines, endorsements must be “truthful and not misleading.” Use the product before you promote it. Personal testimonials mean that the information you are providing comes from your experience with the product. Consumers can tell when you have an in-depth knowledge as opposed to just glossing over the product’s highlights than anyone could write.

Mention the pros and cons of the product. Allow readers to make an informed decision based on all the facts and not just those that 5-no-black-hatpaint the product in a positive light. Otherwise, you are making the decision for them and that is misleading.

Provide a disclaimer. Let your readers know that you are an affiliate who uses the products and services that you are promoting.

Many of these guidelines have been around for a while but have been updated to reflect the advent of social media. Here as well, advertising claims need to be based on personal experience and reveal all sides of the product.

So, how has affiliate marketing changed? It has evolved for the better for both customer and the affiliate marketer who strives to build a brand that supports value and honest products.

Top 10 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Mistakes

search-engine-optimization

 

Many people will tell you that search engine optimization (SEO) has changed dramatically over the years. They’re talking about Pandas and Penguins…it’s a little hard to keep up, isn’t it? The interesting thing is that the basics and long-lived strategies haven’t changed much at all in the past 10 years. What has changed is that the tactics which were used to game the system no longer work, giving people a sense of uncertainty and the need to change strategy.

The good news is that if you stick with the basics that have always worked, you can enjoy free traffic for many years to come. The first step though, is to avoid the mistakes that many people make when they approach SEO, and that’s what this guide is all about.

Avoid these top 10 mistakes and apply our alternate strategies instead for long-term, free traffic from the search engines. Let’s get started.

 

Mistake #1: Not Using a Description Tag

Now this mistake isn’t going to create any penalty for your site and it also probably won’t make you rank any better, but it could cost you some click-through traffic. Always use a compelling and relevant description tag for each page of your website.

  1-description-tag

Search engines generally don’t use the description tag as a ranking factor, but many do display what is written in your description tag in their search engine results. This is what your potential visitor sees when they see your listing, so you want to ensure it’s on target, interesting and makes them want to click.

To write an effective description tag, think of the end user. If they were looking for information on a certain keyword, what would they expect to see? Include your keyword phrases as well, because they will be in bold in the search results, drawing the user’s eye to your listing. Google will show about 160 characters of your description tag, including spaces, so keep that in mind.

 

Mistake #2: Artificial Link Building

bad-habitsFirst it was link exchanges. Then people bought links and sought out one-way links. Now it has been proven that links you seek out yourself generally don’t carry much weight with search engines. Don’t go for the fake stuff. You would need to spend endless times on forums or commenting on blogs, hoping to grow the number of links back to your site. And while these activities can be useful to your growth and creating connections, they do nothing for your ability to rank well.

Instead, put your focus into real link building.

This means creating great content that your audience willingly shares and links to. This means building your audience and connections through social networks and other opportunities, so you have people who will gladly spread your content around. We’ll talk more about that later in this guide.

Mistake #3: Ignoring Social Media

IdeasThat brings us to the next mistake, and that’s ignoring social media. Search engines are taking more and more cues from what is being shared in social media to decide what content is truly popular and what should be in their results pages.

No, that doesn’t mean you need to be on Facebook every day, but it does mean that you should at the very least offer your readers sharing options. Make it easy for them to post your content to Google+ and other social sites.

 

Add to that, social media provides you with the opportunity to connect with people who run websites in your niche, in addition to the people who are simply interested in your niche. Knowing these people increases your chances of getting real links to your website and that’s what we all need, right?

Mistake #4: Trying to Use an SEO Formula

errorIf you’ve ever been told you need to mention a keyword phrase a certain number of times in your content or to follow any other formula, I’m afraid you’ve been duped. Either that, or the person who told you that, didn’t have the proper information at hand.

By using a formula, you alert search engines to the fact that you are trying to game their system and that’s not going to be good for you.

Instead, be natural in your content creation and throw away any preconceived notions of how your content should be structured.

 

Mistake #5: Not Making Friends in High Places

business_trustIt may seem unfortunate to some, but who you know can have a great impact on how well your content does in search engines. You don’t have to befriend a celebrity, political figure or anyone like that. But the more influential friends you have, the more likely your content is to be seen on the web and in search engines.

Just think, if your friend is the top blogger in the fashion niche and she decides to share your blog post on fashion trends, you get instant credibility with your target audience and the search engines.

It may seem difficult to approach the more influential people in your niche, but the key is to open up a conversation. You can offer to help that person in some way, or better yet attend an in-person event they will be at. Face to face is still the best way to make friends. It always will be.

Remember, it takes just one connection to make many more through introductions. The more you get out there and meet people, the better your results are going to be.

Mistake #6: Worrying About Word Counts

Just like it’s an error to follow a formula, there is no reason to worry about the word count of your content. Content should simply be as long as it needs to be to make your point and be useful. Search engines don’t care if you use 300, 500 or 1500 words. The most important thing is that your content is good.

In the past, a larger word count helped you make sure that you could easily insert your keyword phrase a number of times without sounding any alarms about a high keyword density.

Today, search engines simply care if your content is good. They want to see that if people click through your link on their search engine, that the visitor stays and doesn’t click back right away. They also want to see content that is readily shared.

By worrying about word counts, you can sacrifice that quality. So put your abacus away and focus on your message instead.

Mistake #7: Lack of Unique Title Tag for Each Page

It’s a rookie mistake and people don’t make it as readily as they used to, but it still needs to be mentioned. Each page of your website should have a unique and descriptive title tag.

7-title-tag

That means a title tag that is absolutely and completely relevant to the particular page. Include your chosen keyword phrase(s), but also make sure the title makes sense and isn’t simply a string of keyword phrases. You shouldn’t have your company or website name at the beginning of the title tag because that is the key piece of title tag real estate, and you need to use it well.

Title tags are also not only important for ranking, they can also impact your click-throughs in the same way a description tag can. It’s what people see at the top of your listing in the search engine results, so make it count. Title tags should be up to 65 characters, including spaces, to ensure your full title tag appears in the search engine results.

 

Mistake #8: Not Doing Keyword Research

Keyword research not only helps you optimize your content, it also helps you come up with topics for your content. You can use tools like Wordtracker, Keyword Discovery or even the free Google Keyword Tool. Analyze your competition and be realistic in the keywords you choose to optimize for…but above all, make sure your content is highly relevant for those keywords.

 

Mistake #9: Writing for Search Engines Instead of Humans

Following along from mistake #8, make sure you always write content for your visitors, rather than search engines. So while you want to do keyword research and use your chosen phrases in your content, it’s more important that you create useful content for humans. After all, it’s people who read our content, share it and help us rank better in the first place.

See mistake #4 (Formulas) and #6 (Word Counts) for more details.

 

Mistake #10: Not Updating Regularly

Search engines like to provide up-to-date and fresh content to their users. You should do likewise by keeping your site up-to-date and adding new content on a regular basis.

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As you can see, there are no tricks and there is no magic to getting search engine traffic. It takes putting out solid content, making connections on the web and earning your place in the rankings. Sure, it’s hard work, but isn’t free traffic for years and years to come worth it?

It’s your business and how you run it is your business. You can attempt to game the system for a few temporary rankings now or you can avoid the top 10 mistakes and enjoy long term results. The choice is completely up to you.

8 Post-Penguin Link-building Tactics

linkbuildingIn many ways, the Google Penguin update really tossed up a lot of what the internet marketing world thought they knew about SEO. Many old link-building tactics, such as buying .edu links, mass blog comment posting or article directory submissions not only lost value, but could actually come back and hurt your rankings.

Today, the search engine game has more and more become about getting real, genuine backlinks back to your website. Low quality backlinks have lost massive value, while high quality backlinks are gaining more weight.

In addition, Google is placing more emphasis on person to person relationships. In other words, social media relationships are beginning to play more of a part in search engine rankings.

It’s safe to assume that Google Penguin won’t be Google’s last big tossup. As search engine technology and especially the AI technology that was developed for Panda evolve, we can expect more big changes to roll out. More likely than not, these changes will further deemphasize low quality linking and prop up high quality linking even more.

So in the post-panda world, what can you do to build more backlinks and build your rankings? Read on.

1) Guest Blogging

One fantastic way to build links to any website is to write guest blogs. What’s amazing about guest blogging is that not only do you get high quality links back to your website, but you also get to put your content right in front of real people in your industry.

There are a few different ways to write guest blogs. The easiest way is to head over to MyBlogGuest.com and find other blogs in your industry who want your content.

This is fantastic for links, but most high quality, high traffic blogs won’t be advertising for guest posts this way.

Instead, you need to approach them directly. Try to build a relationship with them by commenting on their blogs and interacting with them over Twitter. Build high quality content on your own website.

Then, when you think you can provide something of value to their audience, send them a message directly with your proposal.

 

2) Help a Reporter Out

One of the best ways to get in contact with reporters who need stories is Help a Reporter Out (HARO.) This is a free site where reporters who need sources go to post what they need.

Sign up for their newsletter. Anytime a reporter requests a source in your area of expertise, contact them. Get in touch and let them pick your brains about the topic.

This benefits you in a few ways. First, they’ll often link to your website right then and there. Make sure you ask them to make the link active, as often newspapers will just write your site in text without linking.

Second however, you build a relationship with that journalist. If you keep doing this, you’ll soon have a small rolodex of press people who’re in your debt. When you next launch a creative or edgy product, you can get in touch with them and manufacture your own press blitz.

3) Contact Your Commenters

If you run a blog, discussion board or website that has any kind of social interaction, chances are other people who also have websites are going to contact you.

Whenever you receive a comment from someone who says they love your site, get in touch with them. See if you can arrange some sort of backlink deal with them.

These people already love your content. Getting them to agree to have you write a guest post or even give a free link back to you on a relevant page shouldn’t be too difficult.

Nicole speaking4) Build Real Relationships

Go to conferences and cultivate real, genuine relationships. Meet people face to face and engender goodwill.

A lot of people will link to you if they like you and you ask. In fact, for many high profile individuals that’s the only way you can get them to link back to you.

People with massive twitter followings or blog followings are very rarely going to link to you if you just ask them out of the blue. They don’t know you and receive a dozen such requests every day.

On the other hand, if you meet them in person, have a good conversation and develop a rapport, there’s a very good chance they’ll do you that favor. That’s how you get the PR5 and PR6 backlinks – Through real personal relationships.

5) Social Bookmarking Websites

Getting your content to the front of a social bookmarking website like Reddit, Digg or StumbleUpon is a fantastic way to drive tons and tons of traffic your way. If you’re making this a genuine goal of yours, make sure your server is setup to handle the traffic.

If you do manage to get your post ranked highly on a social bookmarking site, you’ll see tens of thousands of people flooding into your website. Don’t be alarmed if the bounce rate is much higher than usual or the time on site much lower. The quality of traffic from these sites tends to be lower, as people on these sites click many links in a short period of time.

The real value you’ll get from getting on the front of a social bookmarking site is through the links you’ll build. If you land on the front of reddit, you’re going to get dozens or even hundreds of backlinks in a matter of hours or days. These will help your rankings for the rest of your site’s life.

6) Build a Strong Social Media Presence

Google is paying more and more attention to social media. Already Google +1s carry a ton of weight. If someone +1s any of your content, there’s a great chance that your site will be popping up very often in the search results.

Create a popular fan page. Be active on Twitter. Get Google +1s. If you’re not already active on social media, now is the time. The time for webmasters to “wait and see if it matters” is over.

Experts have said it. Web stats have said it. Users have said it and now the search engines are saying it: Social media matters. Today, not only will it drive visitors, but it’ll drive rankings as well.

Social media links might not matter in the traditional PageRank passing sense, but having a strong social media presence will still certainly help your rankings.

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Business Rockstars Ken Rutkowski and Nicole Munoz
Business Rockstars Ken Rutkowski and Nicole Munoz

7) Do an Interview

Find experts in your niche and interview them about the subject.

When you do this, the expert will often link to you. Other people will link to you. It’ll be fantastic for search rankings, for Twitter, for Facebook, for your email list and for building traction all around.

Again, the key to getting people to agree to be interviewed is to build personal relationships. Either that, or build relationships with key networkers who can introduce you to other influential people.

8) Start a Video Series

Videos are a fantastic way to both get new visitors and improve your relationship with your old ones.

Start a video series and publish it regularly. Get people in the habit of receiving content from you. People who love your content will watch and share your videos regularly. Keyword optimize your videos and there’s a great chance that you’ll rank highly on Google or YouTube.

These are nine linkbuilding tactics you can use today to generate real, genuine links that post-penguin Google will love. What’s more is that these linkbuilding tactics will almost definitely survive the next Google update, and the one after that. These links aren’t built on quick-fix solutions, but actually get you real endorsements from real people.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Why you should consider Amazon before opening your next ecommerce store!

shopping_cartMany of you know I got started online when I opened up my very first ecommerce store.  I love ecommerce sites. I still have my ecommerce sites.  We still sell products every single day from my ecommerce sites.

Lately I have been getting phone calls from people asking me to help them build their ecommerce stores.  We work on Yahoo, Volusion, OSCommerce and many other platforms and a lot of people like the fact that I don’t just sell ecommerce design and marketing… but I do it for my own sites!  The thing is, most people are surprised when I tell them that before even building out their own site, the very first thing that I want to see them do is to get their products onto Amazon.  Let me explain why.

SEO used to be easy.  You could put up your site. Follow the rules.  Get #1 in Google.  Get lots of traffic and sales.  Done.  Today it does not work like that.  Today Google is showing sites in the top results that are authority sites.  The thing with being an authority site is that you have to have traffic to be an authority site.  So if you are depending on Google to send you that traffic to become an authority site to get ranked number one to get traffic… you see the problem?  =)

So today it is even more important to get your products out there on as many channels as possible!  You need to look at Google and SEO as one channel to get more sales.  But not the only channel and possibly not the most important channel.

So what is a channel anyways?  A channel is simply another pathway towards sales.  All successful companies know that it is important to not be dependent on one channel.  You could have an affiliate program.  That affiliate program is a channel as it drives sales.  You could use PPC to drive traffic and sales.  That is another channel.  You could have a team of re-sellers or sales reps.  They are another channel.  The key is to setup multiple distribution channels to sell your products in as many places as possible.

I mean think about it.  Would you rather have your products in one store?  Or a chain of stores?

Think about it this way also.  If you have a product what is the fastest way to get sales?  Put up a brick and mortar store.  Buy the shelving and decorate the store.  Co-ordinate a ribbon cutting ceremony.  Run ads in your local area.  Pass out flyers. Invite all your friends.

Or….

Negotiate a deal with an established business that already has a lot of traffic and customers for a little bit of shelf space in their store.

That is what you get with Amazon.

Amazon already has the traffic.  They already have thousands of visitors on their site every single day.  They don’t only have visitors, but they have thousands of visitors with their wallets out ready to buy!

So why do I recommend ecommerce owners get on Amazon first even before they open up their own ecommerce website?

 

#1 Traffic

Amazon already has the traffic.  You don’t have to wait to build your site, get the products up, write unique descriptions, begin an SEO and social media campaign or drive traffic with PPC.  All the traffic is already there.  You literally have to upload your products and wait for the sales.

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#2 Market Research

Many times we don’t know if a product will sell or not.  Did you know that there are major retailers that use Amazon to test whether or not they will carry a product in their retail stores?  Brilliant!  Instead of taking up expensive shelf space in a retail store to find out if a product will sell or not, you can now upload your digital versions of your products and test what the demand is even before you stock up.

 

#3 Amazon Fulfillment

One of the biggest benefits of Amazon is their Amazon fulfillment centers.  By storing your products with Amazon, your products are available to be sold through the Amazon Prime Free Shipping Program.  Your customers will also thank you because when your products are shipped through Amazon Fulfillment, you can get better shipping rates with UPS.

 

There are other channels to pay attention to.  The other major channels are Ebay, NewEgg.com, Sears.com, and rakuten.com.

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So before you start another ecommerce website, consider getting your products sold on Amazon first!

 

Need help setting up your Amazon store?  We can help you from start to finish to get your products up in no time flat.  Just give us a call and let’s get you added to Amazon in no time flat!

SEO: Why the first step just might be a website redesign!

website redesignA few years ago if someone said they just wanted SEO that meant that they just wanted link building.  It was well known that even though Google said that if you wanted to get good rankings all you had to do was produce high quality content, the reality was that it was a number game of how many links you had to your site.

To many, SEO became simply doing off site link building.

Today this is not the case.

Today Google ranks sites based on different metrics.  To get a site ranked today, you need to have a clean coded, user-friendly site that publishes high quality content that is loved, liked, and shared!

A website redesign is not exactly a separate project from SEO, but rather a part of it.  There are certain elements that top ranking sites have in common.  Some of these elements are things like social sharing bars.   Other elements would be things like pagination or a dynamic navigation.  In order to get the best SEO results in the shortest time possible, these elements should be added to a site.

 

So how can you tell if your site needs a re-design?

 

First, take a look at your code.  The code of your website is how Google knows what your site is about.  By placing keywords throughout your site, you can tell Google what your site is about.  The key here is to not overdo it.  If not done correctly you can actually hurt your site.  Some of the places to check your code are the following:

  1. Title Tag
  2. Meta Description Tag
  3. SEO Friendly URLs
  4. Images named with keywords
  5. Alt Text with Keywords

You can also run your site through a code validator tool to check other elements.  Also be sure to check page load speed as well as if there are any errors on Google Webmaster Tools.

Next, take a look at how user friendly your site is.  There are three basic metrics you can check to determine if Google thinks your site is user friendly or not.

Bounce Rate.  Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors on your site that immediately leave your site without clicking through to another page.  So if Google sends you a visitor from the search results and that visitor immediately leaves your site, then they “bounced” off your site.  Google interprets this to mean that the visitor did not find what they are looking for.  Since Google wants to give their user the best results possible, they see this as a sign that your site is not relevant to the search results and your ranking is penalized.  If your bounce rate is high, your site may need some re-design elements so that visitors don’t immediately leave your site.

Click Through Rate.  Just like bounce rate, Google is looking at the click through rate of your site.  The click through rate is the number of pages deep that your visitors travel through your site.  If your site has too low of a click through rate, then Google interprets that to mean that your site was not very interesting.

The third way Google can tell if your site is user friendly is by how long your visitors are spending on your site.  If they are on your site for less than thirty seconds or so, then it is clear to Google that they did not find what they were looking for.

Next, evaluate if you have a method to add high quality content that your market can share.  This normally means… do you have a blog on your site?  If not, then you need to add one.  When adding a blog, the design of the blog normally matches the design of your site.  If your site design is not something you absolutely love, then consider re-designing your site at the same time you add a blog to your site.

Finally, evaluate the lead capture pages of your site.  Your website may sell physical products, but many forget that the best opportunity you have is to capture leads from your site so that you can market to them later.  Even many sites that sell direct to consumer, could easily add a corporate or bulk buying area to their site.  This can usually be accomplished by adding a separate area to the site that is structured with sales copy with the goal of capturing leads.  Again, it is important that if you are going to add a new area to your website, that the site design be consistent.

 

So in review:

Check your code, usability, and ability to publish high quality content and create special landing pages on your site for specific target markets.  If you can’t do these things or are limited, then maybe a website re-design is the right choice.

 

Are you ready for a site re-design?  Schedule a free 20 minute site evaluation with me today.

On Site SEO: An Absolute Necessity!

onsite SEOIf you want to get your site ranked fast, the best place to start is by making changes to your own site.

Here are some simple things that you can start checking right now!

Check your code.  First, validate your code. Head on over to the w3 Validator.  If your site has a lot of errors, you can either fix them, or invest in a re-design to have your site built right from the ground up.

Check your Google Webmaster Tools.  Webmaster Tools will tell you several things.  First, it will tell you if you have duplicate content with your title and description tags.  If so, fix those first.  Second, check for broken links.  Check for the number of pages indexed.  If that number is going down and not up, you have a problem that needs to be addressed.  Check if your sitemap has all of your URLs submitted.

Check your Google Analytics.  Head on over to your Google Analytics account and check things like the bounce rate of your site.  How many pages deep your visitors click through.  How long your visitors are on your site.  Don’t just look at the overall bounce rate for your site, but drill down to the specific landing pages that you want to rank.  If the bounce rate for those pages is over 60% or so, then work on improving them to bring the bounce rate down.  If your visitors are only on your site for 30 seconds, try adding video or other design elements to get them to stay longer.

Google search results for your website.  You should see the following:

  1. Picture – If your site is hooked up to your Google+ author account correctly, then your picture will show up next to your site.
  2. Keywords in the Title Tag – The title tag of your site should generate as the title of your organic listing.  If it does not, something is wrong.
  3. Description – The description area of your organic listing should be the same as the meta tag on your site.  This area should have benefits plus call to action listed.

If your Google search results are not rendering correctly, work on that!

Getting back to basics is usually one of the fastest ways to get results… and also one of the most overlooked!

 

If you need help, I offer an in depth SEO Site Audit through my company Start Ranking Now, Inc.  The SEO Site audit runs from between $500 and $2500 depending on how deep of an audit you need and how complex your site is.

To get started, contact me today!